Tuesday, July 2, 2013

in the beginning

I remember a conversation with an older woman a few years ago. "What was life like," I asked. "Do you now know who you are and what you are doing?" I continue.

The answer was short and sweet and stuck with me.

"The questions have changed but they are still needing to be answered," she replied.

How true I thought.

Yes, I recently celebrated my 32nd year in business as a quiltmaker. Time for a bit of nostalgia. So, for those who are curious, here are a few of my early quilts. Yes, you can see the log cabin influence. They were all quilt as you go onto a muslin backing. The blocks sewn together and then a polyester batting. The quilts were then tied. These were meant to be used on beds. I do hope you enjoy. If you want to see more, I have a book with some early images that I will bring to my studio in Shelburne Falls and I will try to post occasionally for my loyal readers. These photographs were by Tommy Elder. I hope you enjoy.

The first is a simple log cabin but the colors are changing both on the top layer and the bottom lighter colors. Each block was made knowing exactly where it went on the quilt.

log cabin quilt--early--Ann Brauer

Another basic log cabin with a slightly more complex pattern. Again notice the color changes. These quilts with a couple more variations got me into every single craft show I applied to. If only life were that easy now...sigh!!!

two diamonds--quilt--Ann Brauer
Of course soon I had said everything I had to say using variations on this theme so I had to change the size of the blocks to add further interest. Yes the size of the lighter strips were narrower than the darker strips.

straight furrows--quilt--Ann Brauer
And sometimes I had to just let myself play. This was a quilt that I had lots of fun with but never really figured out all of its secrets. I owned this piece for some period of time until finally it sold in San Francisco.

river--quilt--Ann Brauer

And yet there was something about this quilt that continued to haunt me. Here is a close-up of my quilt--rivers of autumn. Do you see the similarities?

rivers of autumn--detail--quilt--Ann Brauer

So what do you think? How has your work changed? What questions remain the same? Do you study older works or tend to put them aside for a while and let the work take hold?


  1. This is fascinating, Ann. Yes, they are different, and yet they are still you. I tend NOT to look back at my early work--but it might be time!

  2. I see the same eye in these stunningly beautiful and well crafted early works as I see in your current work. Obviously, there has been growth and development but there is something bedrock and fundamental that is at the core of it all. Congratulations on 32 years!

  3. Thank you for sharing these! Log Cabins were one of the first designs I made in mosaic, and I am still making them 7 years later. I tend not to look at older work, but when I do, I am surprised by the changes.